Cyprus vows to crack down on match-fixing after damning UEFA verdict

The Cyprus Football Association has said it will impose severe penalties on clubs suspected of match-fixing after UEFA ranked the country's championship among the worst offenders in Europe.

Marios Lefkaritis, the association's honorary president and a UEFA vice president, said he was "ashamed and shocked" when told of the extent of the problem.

He said UEFA suspected that six first division matches and a domestic cup tie may have been fixed since September.

The Cyprus FA has received files on 75 matches suspected of being fixed since 2011, Lefkaritis added.

"We're among the top three or four countries that have the most matches suspected of being fixed," he told The Associated Press.

"It ceases to be a suspicion and becomes extremely worrying when you have a file sent to you about a suspected fixed match almost every week."

Lefkaritis said most of the betting on the matches under suspicion has taken place in Asia.

Cyprus FA president Costakis Koutsokoumnis was quoted by state-run radio as saying that he was aware of one player who has been implicated in nine matches suspected of being fixed.

The Cyprus FA said penalties would mirror those recommended by UEFA. They could include an initial heavy fine for a suspected first offence, followed by a points loss for a second and relegation for a third.

Teams suspected of match-fixing for a fourth time would incur a lengthy ban.

"We have to act right away," Koutsokoumnis told an FA general assembly. "We've reached the tipping point. Soon we'll have neither sponsors, fans nor even a championship."